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Gottlob Frick
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782) - Wer ein Liebchen hat gefundena [2:25]; Solche hergelaufnen Laffena [4:18]; O wie will ich triumphierenb [2:24]; Le nozze di Figaro (1786) – La vendettac [2:46]; Die Zauberflöte (1791) - O Isis und Osiris d[3:20]; In diesen heil’gen Hallene [4:40]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1828)

Fidelio (1814) - Hat man nicht auch Gold beinebenf [2:57]
Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)

Il barbiere di Siviglia (1816) – La callunia è un venticellog [4:13]
Jacques Fromental HALÉVY (1799-1862)

La Juive (1835) – Si la rigeurh [4:08]
Albert LORTZING (1801-1851)

Zar und Zimmermann (1837) – O sancta justitiai[6:25]; Der Waffenschmied (1846) – Auch ich war ein Jünglingj [4:00]
Otto NICOLAI (1810-1849)

Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (1849) – Als Büblein kleink [4:21]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)

Don Carlos (1867) – Ella giammai m’amòl [7:30]
Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Eugene Onegin (1879) – Ein jeder kennt die Lieb’ auf Erdenh [5:17]
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)

Lohengrin (1850) - Gott grüß euch, liebe Männer von Brabantm [2:54]; Tristan und Isolde (1865) – Tatest du’s wirklich?n[12:45]
Gottlob Frick (bass);
abcdehijklBerlin Symphony Orchestra/abcdghijklWilhelm Schüchter, eArthur Grüber; fVienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler; mOrchester des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks, Hamburg/Wilhelm Schüchter; nLeipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Franz Konwitschny.
mALP1095, nUrania URLP202. Rec. September ab23rd, ijk24th, fOctober, lJune 13th, mJuly 1953, March c3rd, d27th, h15th, eApril 28th, 1954, nOctober 1950.
All tracks sung in German.
From Electrola aEH1443, b7EG8403, cgDB11563, deDB11567, hDB11566, hEH1445, jkEH1444, lDB11555, HMV fALP1130, ADD mono
PREISER 93443 [75:34]

Here is a wonderful reminder of the stature of Gottlob Frick, a singer whose career took in all the world's greatest stages. These of course included Bayreuth – although he hung fire as to his arrival there which only happened in 1957 when the Green Hill heard his Pogner. Wilhelm Furtwängler apparently called him the 'blackest bass' of his generation, and his repertoire reflects that of a true bass. Yet his comedic values are here for consideration, too, an Osmin that is guaranteed to entertain.

And it is with Osmin that the disc begins – three excerpts from Entführung. Perhaps best to ignore the romantic orchestra that begins 'Wer ein Liebchen hat gefunden' in favour of Frick's focused singing. Of course there are no spoken interruptions to this in this context, merely silent pauses where the dialogue would have taken place.

The orchestra’s fairly forward placement seems more obvious in the second excerpt (the 'angry' 'Solche hergelaufnen Laffen'). This is lower on adrenaline, but Frick's staccato (so important here) is good – although not as good as Willard White in the recent DVD I reviewed. Interestingly, Frick's voice is not at its fullest down in the depths for 'O wie will ich triumphieren'.

The Figaro aria is 'La vendetta' ('Süße Rache') – as fine an example of characterful Mozart singing as you are liable to find. The first of the Zauberflöte excerpts reveals a most appealing slight edge to Frick's voice lower down - there is also an uncredited chorus here, by the way. 'In diesen heil'gen Hallen' reveals something of a bleat to the voice.

The Fidelio excerpt, under Furtwängler no less, is, dare I say it, a little dull. Frick seems to enjoy himself singing Rossini in German; better to my ears is the Juive excerpt (here 'Die Jüdin', of course), wherein the long unaccompanied passages are riveting. On a Walhall set I reviewed, also in German (Frankfurt, 1951), the part of the Cardinal de Brogni was taken by Otto von Rohr, wobbly yet with a well-developed lower range. Frick brings much more meaning to the music, finding greater depth by far.

The three operetta excerpts (two Lortzings and one Nicolai) show another side of Frick. Zar und Zimmermann is here nice and bubbly, while The Merry Widow shows Frick the narrator.

But come Don Carlos and we are more on home turf. Frick makes the King's sadness work in German: wonderfully dark at 'Schlafe mir dort' ('Dormiro sol'). We can believe in his grief. Onegin again finds Frick in dark voice, while the Lohengrin excerpt is ardently declaimed. The longest snippet on the disc is the Tristan 'Tatest du's wirklich', shot full of interior strength. The pianissimi are truly magical - what a way to end.

In keeping with this series, this is an intelligently-planned disc that is infinitely rewarding and enlightening.

Colin Clarke



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